The Electronic Journal of Business Research Methods provides perspectives on topics relevant to research in the field of business and management
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Journal Article

Issues in Online Focus Groups: Lessons Learned from an Empirical Study of Peer‑to‑Peer Filesharing System Users  pp121-136

Jerald Hughes, Karl R. Lang

© Jul 2003 Volume 2 Issue 2, Editor: Arthur Money, pp47 - 170

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Abstract

The development of easy‑to‑use Internet tools for synchronous communications has made a new research method possible: online focus groups. Attempts to apply them to questions formerly addressed by face‑to‑face focus groups have resulted not only in promising avenues for research, but also in substantive criticism. We have chosen to adopt online focus groups as a research methodology for a qualitative study of user beliefs and attitudes concerning peer‑to‑peer filesharing systems. This project is still in its early stages, so herein we describe not confirmatory findings of rigorous research, but the issues raised by our exploratory study, and indications of important issues to address in the use of online focus groups. This paper also demonstrates a novel analysis method which visually maps one of the unique characteristics of such groups, multi‑threaded simultaneous conversations, and uses such maps to identify some notable tendencies and behaviors. We also identify some typical participant strategies we have observed, describe some skills and techniques for use in moderating such sessions, identify some powerful advantages provided by the instant and automatic transcript generation capabilities of chat session software, and characterize some important research questions to be addressed in future research.

 

Keywords: online focus groups, qualitative, focus group methodology, file-sharing, digital music, digital media

 

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Journal Article

Using Plenary Focus Groups in Information Systems Research: More than a Collection of Interviews  pp209-216

Polly Sobreperez

© Nov 2008 Volume 6 Issue 2, Editor: Ann Brown, pp123 - 216

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Abstract

Qualitative techniques for the collection of empirical materials are classically identified as including interviews and observations. However a further technique has more recently emerged known as the group interview or focus group, which may be applicable only to certain types of research situation but is widely overlooked and can add a level of knowledge and richness not available through other techniques. This paper follows the growth of focus group research, looks for situations in Information Systems research where this technique gives unique insights, and describes the conduct and application of the technique in a case study setting. An example of a useful structuring technique is described and conclusions are drawn concerning a particular type of focus group in information systems qualitative research which may well be useful in other research scenarios.

 

Keywords: research instrument, focus groups, data collection, empirical technique

 

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Journal Article

Challenges of Multicultural Data Collection and Analysis: Experiences From the Health Information System Research  pp75-82

Reetta Raitoharju, Eeva Heiro, Ranjan Kini, Martin D'Cruz

© Dec 2009 Volume 7 Issue 1, ECRM 2009, Editor: Ann Brown, Joseph Azzopardi, Frank Bezzina, pp1 - 116

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Abstract

The effect of culture has been popular topic in recent information system research. However, it is not a simple task to either collect or analyze data containing elements of "culture". This paper presents previous literature on how to measure culture, the theoretical background how to build this construct and a short description of empirical study we conducted in a multicultural environment. Our research topic was to examine the usage of health information exchange systems in two different kinds of healthcare sectors (i.e. Finland and USA). Finally we reflect on our experiences both in collecting data as well as in analyzing it through the lenses of cultural differences. Strengths and weaknesses of multicultural data collection are discussed together with opportunities and threats of analyzing data with the purpose of finding cultural elements.

 

Keywords: multicultural data collection, information systems, health care professionals, interview, focus groups

 

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Journal Article

Using Focus Groups in Studies of ISD Team Behaviour  pp119-131

Colm O’hEocha, Kieran Conboy, Xiaofeng Wang

© Dec 2010 Volume 8 Issue 2, ECRM Special Issue Part 1, Editor: Ann Brown, David Douglas, Marian Carcary and Jose Esteves, pp63 - 162

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Abstract

This paper discusses an innovative focus group approach used to study an Information Systems Development (ISD) environment. The research had to cope with the application of a broad framework, untested in practice, seeking to elicit potentially highly sensitive opinions and judgments in a highly pressurised, time‑restricted environment. The researchers’ design of the focus groups is discussed along with an evaluation of the final approach used. The paper concludes with a set of issues for future researchers to consider when designing focus groups for their own studies, along with a set of lessons learned and recommendations arising from the research team’s experience in this study

 

Keywords: focus group, information systems development, evaluation criteria

 

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Journal Article

Psychogeography – Providing a Lens on Corporate Culture and its Potential Impact on Career Success: A Novel and Efficient Approach  pp99-108

Dorothy Wardale, Linley Lord

© Oct 2017 Volume 15 Issue 2, Editor: Ann Brown, pp57 - 141

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Abstract

Psychogeography refers to the loose interface between psychology and geography. Specifically it examines how we impact on the environment and the environment impacts on us. As a process it involves intimately observing the environment and seeing what may have been previously unobserved. Participants then construct meaning from these observations. This paper describes how we used a time‑limited psychogeography approach followed immediately by a focus group as research method. The aim was to determine if examining participants’ work environment would potentially enable them to identify enablers and barriers to career success. The findings from these two short interventions are compared to the more often used semi‑structured interview approach to reveal that the psychogeography provided another lens to the research. Interestingly factors that were uncovered in the psychogeography and focus groups were generally different to those identified in the interviews. The participants were a group of high‑potential academic women at a large public university in Western Australia. They were enrolled in a career and leadership development program aimed at assisting women access promotions and other senior roles leadership within the university Much of the women’s career development literature focuses on ‘fixing women’ and not the system. To that end we wanted to use a method, in addition to interview questions, to uncover aspects of the corporate environment that might impact on women’s decisions to progress their careers. We asked participants to dérive, stroll or wander within their university campus with a view to observing any ‘career enablers and barriers at work’. To not impose any further burden on their time, and to manage the wealth of data generated by the psychogeography, we asked the women to immediately share their insights through a structured focus group discussion. Participants found the psychogeography exercise a novel approach to discovering and rediscovering their work environment. The findings revealed aspects of the work environment that had not previously been overt. These included participants’ appreciation of students having fun and a carnival atmosphere within the campus yet a simultaneous concern at the lack of quiet spaces to support scholarship and research; a disparity of investment in infrastructure improvements across various schools and faculties, which led to discussions of how disparately workload was managed by different managers; staff being segregated from students and other staff with security doors; the number of steps at the university and the impact this would have on some people with a disability. One pleasing and unexpected outcome of the psychogeography exercise was the level of energy and collegiality it generated. The exercise was conducted at an early stage in an eight‑month career development program and its use heightened participant’s awareness of aspects of their work environment’s impact on career success that may have otherwise remained uncovered or unexamined. Our view is that psychogeography; within a limited timeframe is a valuable method to employ. When the data from such a method is captured though a focus group the impost on participant’ times is lessened, the quality of data is retained with the combined research method producing novel findings that may be different to other more traditional qualitative research methods. In our case, they helped uncover aspects of university culture and enculturation to which many research participants had been previously oblivious.

 

Keywords: Psychogeography, focus groups, career success, gender, qualitative research, corporate culture

 

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Journal Article

An Original Information Systems Research Method: The Discount Focus Subgroup Method  pp11-24

Mohanad Halaweh

© Mar 2018 Volume 16 Issue 1, Editor: Ann Brown, pp1 - 54

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Abstract

The aim of this paper is to present a new original qualitative research method called the Discount Focus Subgroup (DFSG) method, which originated in and was developed from information systems research. This paper synthesizes previous work on DFSG method to provide a more coherent picture of the method's applications, procedures, and strengths. It discusses why the DFSG is an innovative method and how it is distinct from the existing traditional qualitative group‑based methods (e.g. focus group, brainstorming, and joint application development). The paper also provides a critical evaluation of the method by highlighting the limitations and dilemmas that a researcher might encounter when applying it and demonstrating how these pitfalls can be avoided or lessened. It finally offers directions for future research to further develop this method. This paper presents useful methodological guidelines to researchers who intend to use this method in their research projects.

 

Keywords: Information systems, qualitative research, Discount Focus Subgroup (DFSG) method, focus group

 

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Journal Article

The Nexus Between Teaching and Research: A Qualitative Study Using two Focus Group on Academic Information Systems Teachers  pp37-56

Kevin Grant, Stuart Fitzgerald

© Sep 2005 Volume 3 Issue 1, Editor: Arthur Money, pp1 - 92

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Abstract

Over the last two decades or so, the discussion of and research into the question of a nexus between teaching and research, has expanded exponentially. Much has been learnt, and said; with a growing rhetoric, with only general insights emerging and being supported by particular empirical evidence. The study of a nexus between teaching and research is not a single coherent field; rather it is beset by epistemological, methodological, political and practical differences. To date, much of the discussion and research on the nexus has arisen due to varying views and alleged agreed consensus as to the nature of the academic profession; the role of the academyuniversity and thus, how the concepts of teaching and research (including scholarship) have been conceptualised and enacted to inform teaching practice. There is a continuing debate as to whether research undertaken by academic staff within the boundaries of a university adds value to the teaching and student learning. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the usefulness of focus groups as a way of exploring and making sense of the conceptions staff have with regard to the nexus between teaching and research. Two focus groups were held with a sample of IS academic teachers. The merits and limitations of using a focus group are discussed given this area of investigation with some possible research areas highlighted. The paper argues that focus groups for this type of study are not appropriate on their own and should be considered as part of a much wider and multi methods research design when attempting to make sense of a complex, multifaceted and emotional areas of teaching, research, scholarship, administration, management and knowledge transfer; and the identify of IS in Higher Education.

 

Keywords: Focus Groups, Information Systems, Academic Identity

 

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Journal Issue

Volume 8 Issue 2, ECRM Special Issue Part 1 / Dec 2010  pp63‑162

Editor: Ann Brown, David Douglas, Marian Carcary, Jose Esteves

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Editorial

Introduction to the ECRM conference issues

The subject of research methods in business is showing an extraordinary level of activity and innovation and this conference (the 9th European Conference on Research Methods in Business and Management) reflected this. Papers ranged from those offering insight and help in applying such favorite methods as Grounded Theory (Douglas and Nunes et al) to those introducing new ideas such as the application of subtextual phenomenology (Valleck). Papers fell naturally into fourteen main themes and these formed the basis of the conference streams. The quality of the papers was of such a high level that it was decided to publish two conference issues, A & B.  Issue A has the best papers on: Grounded Theory, Mixed Methods, Reflecting and Researching one’s own professional practice, Research Methods in Business and Research Methods in Strategy‑as‑practice. Issue B has the best papers on: Qualitative Data Analysis, Research Methodology and methodology issues, Teaching Research Methods and Methodologies and Trust and Ethics

The final selection of papers was agreed by the senior editor of the Journal and the guest editors. The comments of session chairs were taken into account in making the final selection of papers for these two issues of the EJBRM. The papers selected were chosen for their quality of writing, their relevance to the Journal’s objective of publishing papers that offer new insights or practical help in the application of research methods in business research.

Issue A

These papers dealt with the problems facing management researchers in a variety of ways. Two papers develop new ideas (Valleck, Venkateswaran and Prabhu). Vallek’s paper introduces a relatively new method for researching in that it advocates the use of personal experience through the application of subtextual phenomenology (Valleck). The paper by Venkateswaran and Prabhu claim that their topic ‑ strategy‑as‑Practice is just emerging as a new subject. This is the study of individual and organizational actions in the process of strategizing. The paper gives an insightful view of the problems of taking a holistic view of such actions. The two papers on Grounded Theory could not have been more different in their aims, one (Douglas) shows us how the method can be used to identify the differing perspectives of stakeholders, while the second (Nunes et al) offers a valuable insight into managing the key initial stage of the method through the use of pilot studies. The papers on mixed methods (Papadimitriou, Molina‑Azorin and Cameron) both offer insight into how and when to use this method. Papadimitriou is a helpful paper to others in understanding the MMs approach to research. Whereas Molina‑Azorin and Cameron carry out a survey of the way Mixed methods has been applied in a number of key organizational research journals. The remaining three papers offer valuable insights into key steps of the research process: O'hEocha et al give a review of the use of focus groups from the literature which offers us insight into the value and appropriateness of using this technique. Heine uses an example of analyzing the behavior of a niche group to discuss the twin problems of surveys – that of reaching the target group and then motivating them to respond.  Beck et al address the practical problems of making use of data (on major change projects) over which the researcher has little control as to choice or the conditions within which the collection takes place.

 

Keywords: grounded theory, small business, entrepreneurship, pilot studies, context, research design, multilevel mixed design, quality management, higher education, neo-institutional theory, mixed methods research, strategic management, organizational behaviour, quantitative methods, qualitative methods, subtextual phenomenology; phenomenology; arts-based research; first-person research, transcendental phenomenology, intuitive research, focus group, information systems development, evaluation criteria, luxury products, luxury brands, luxury consumers, survey participant acquisition, survey response, viral marketing, field research, external validity, induction, statistical generalization, theoretical generalization, strategy-as-practice, research methods, strategy research, clinical research, review

 

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